Valencia is very much a bike-friendly city. Its flat layout by the Mediterranean sea, compact size and mild climate, make it an ideal place to explore on two wheels. Cycling is also a fun and healthy way of packing as much sightseeing as possible within your visit, while having a laugh with friends. And, with many bike rental options and guided tours available, it couldn’t be easier!
Valencia belongs to the Network of Cycling Cities and has an extensive network of 130 kilometres of cycle paths that connect all the neighbourhoods. There are also many ciclocalles (43 kms), bicycle-priority streets with lanes in the middle of the road and a 30 km/h speed limit for general traffic. These are found particularly in the historic centre, an area which is much better explored by bike or on foot to enjoy the beauty of its buildings and the calm atmosphere of its narrow streets and its squares.
If cycling through the city centre is a joy, doing it along the Turia Gardens is even more enjoyable. This nine-kilometre green ribbon which snakes through the city used to be the course of the Turia River until disastrous flooding in the 1950s forced its diversion south of the centre. The riverbed is now a succession of gardens, sports facilities, children’s playgrounds and much more.
At one end of the Turia Gardens, you will find the Cabecera Park, home to the Bioparc, an exciting attraction where you can find animal species from all over the world. If you cycle all along the gardens, at the other end you will find the city’s biggest crowd puller: the City of Arts and Sciences. This stunning complex, designed by the renowned local architect Santiago Calatrava, has an opera house, a planetarium, a science museum and a marine park, as well as a multi-purpose building for big events and gardens which in the summer months double up as chill out terraces. Even if you haven’t got time to explore all of the buildings, it is well worth stopping to catch your breath and admire the architecture.
From here, it is just a short ride to reach the seafront, with the Juan Carlos I marina and the beaches of Malvarrosa and Las Arenas – time to dip your toes in the sea and soothe the muscles after all that cycling!
There are several companies, such as Valencia Bikes, that hire bicycles in the city, with different pick up and drop out points. Or, if you prefer, you can join one of the many guided bike tours of the city, with daily departures and stops at all the main attractions.
Keener cyclists can also venture further afield to explore the surrounding countryside of the “huerta valenciana”, Valencia’s market garden, with its orange groves and the rice fields around the Albufera lagoon. And, particularly at weekends, you will see groups of lycra-clad local pros heading out of the city into the quieter country roads or up the hills of nearby natural parks like the Sierra Calderona. They do take cycling seriously around here, and the Valencia region holds its own tour or Vuelta Ciclista every year (the last one was in February 2016).
But remember you don’t need to be the next Mark Cavendish, there are cycle paths for all ages and levels of fitness. Just get on your saddle and enjoy exploring Valencia!